From Usyk Vs. Fury To Joshua Vs. Ruiz: Boxing Is Taking Over Saudi Arabia

Within the boxing ring, for the first time in 25 years, Ukrainian professional boxer Oleksandr Usyk became the undisputed heavyweight champion after defeating multiple heavyweight title holder Tyson Fury.

This was one of the biggest boxing events that took place this year, and the fact that Riyadh was its staging ground showcases how the Kingdom continues to be a boxing hub.

The Kingdom has become home to major, high-profile fights for some time now. Let us not forget that it was the staging ground for one of the most talked-about matches between YouTuber Jake Paul and Tommy Fury, Tyson Fury’s brother.

No one can also forget the first heavyweight fight that took place in the Kingdom between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz back in 2019.

This trend of turning the Kingdom into the new global hub of combat sports comes amid a wave of investment in fighting sports streaming in from entities in the Middle East. In 2023, nine figures were invested in the Professional Fighters League (PFL).

Peter Murray, CEO of the PFL, went on to showcase how the Kingdom is the new boxing hub, “Saudi Arabia is absolutely the new fight capital of the world… There’s an opportunity to develop the sport and athletes at each stage across all combat sports starting with the grassroots and Olympic combat federations, including the Saudi MMA Federation and pro athletes, with an opportunity in the longer term to develop regional and global champions.”

When it comes to pro boxing athletes, more and more are streaming into the Kingdom, knowing how fighting in Saudi Arabia maximizes their income. Ngannou, the World Boxing Council heavyweight champion of the world, made “easily in the eight figures” during his fight with Fury, said his agent, Marquel Martin.

Today, the Middle East is set to continue to be a major player in combat sports well into the 2030s, and we have a feeling it will only grow stronger from here.

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